FPV Drones should be a EDC Essential in 2016.
Camera drones in general are extremely useful, even if you do happen to buy a toy drone. Not only are they tons of fun to fly for the whole family, they also have many practical uses, and besides for getting a few for the kids, I got one that actually could be carried in my everyday carry.
How helpful would it be to be able to see above the treetops at the landscape if you’re lost in the woods?
Perhaps you’re not even lost, but you want to get an idea of where you are in relation to basecamp. Perhaps you’re getting close to running out of water, and you just need a water source to refill using your Sawyer mini… Either way, If you have a camera drone, you can send that drone up to a maximum height of 400 feet legally to see what’s around and where you gotta go to get more water.
When the drone has a “first person view” or FPV system, you can get a video feed from the drone in real time
This is especially handy (and fun) since you can immediately get your bearings based on which way the drone is facing, or find that water source right away. In urban environments, you can send the drone to get aerial photos or just record video.
I’m sure that you’re beginning to see the benefits of having one of these puppies around already, but here’s a couple more uses that I’ve found:
- Checking the gutters on my house to see if they need to be cleaned
- Checking the back of my property line to for deer or other animals
- Stuck on the dash as a dash cam (seriously).
I have five drones, but only two are for me… the other three are the kid’s drones.
The Cheerson CX-10W is what the kids and I fly. It’s also my Everyday Carry drone because it’s so small. The drone itself only measures 1.25 inches! That makes it perfect for indoor use. Great to fly on rainy days or in the back yard on nice days.
This little drone is also the drone that is now in my backpack, and a part of my Everyday Carry. It has a four minute flight time with the FPV system running, and can recharge in about 45 minutes. The included battery is a 3.7 volt, 150mAh battery pack, but I purchased an additional pack because 4 minutes isn’t a lot of time.
The CX-10W has a 25-40 foot range over the ground, but roughly 60 feet if you just fly straight up. Given that most trees in my area aren’t higher than 40-50 feet, it is pretty easy for this little drone to get above them. The biggest problem is being able to see the drone from the ground once it gets up there. I’ve lost sight of it a couple times now, and have only been able to find it by flying it down to a recognizable object through the FPV view for a landing. Since it lands near the object, I can walk over and hunt around on the ground until I see it.
I’ve spray painted the EDC drone a neon orange so that it stands out in the grass. Makes it a ton easier to see both in the sky and on the ground. The other drones I left alone because they’re just for fun.
You fly the CX-10 with your smartphone. Just download an app and connect the Wi-Fi to the drone’s on board wi-fi signal, and you’re off and flying. You don’t need to carry a separate controller. All I carry is the drone, extra battery and a USB charging cable. I can charge the drone batteries using a portable USB charger and the USB charging cable, so I don’t even need to stop and find a power source.
The JJRC H8D is also a “for fun” drone, but also serves a purpose too. I bought it with the idea that it would come along on hiking trips and camping. It has about a 80 yard range on the ground, and somewhere above 200 feet straight up. While it’s still just a toy drone, it’s more functional (albeit a bit bigger). This drone actually does have payload capacity, so if needed, I can put my Nitecore P12 in SOS mode, duct tape it to the bottom of the drone, and hover the drone at 200 feet to attract attention.
While I still haven’t worked out the full details of how I want to use these drones, It’s an idea, and something to consider if you’re into Geek Tech like me.